January 1, 2012

Sneak Review: Final Fantasy XIII-2 Soundtrack

With a bit of luck, Final Fantasy XIII-2 will be much, much better than its lackluster prequel. Although that won't help me much, since I can't see myself playing this one anytime soon due to a serious lack of PlayStation 3.

The potentially less linear and more focused sequel looks promising, but has already been labeled a "sales disaster" after its initial release in Japan. Doesn't surprise me! But I've never been disappointed by Final Fantasy scores, so I grabbed the soundtrack of Square Enix's latest and reluctant franchise flagship.

Now you know, soundtrack-wise, Final Fantasy XIII was not bad at all. It had quite its share of beautiful music and awesome themes. So I'm not biased right there. But the XIII-2 soundtrack really goes yet another step to all-out dancefloor trance and chillout ambient music. In the later Final Fantasy years, there has been a steady direction towards that current sound, but I don't know if it has to be that much electro and that little fantasy at times. It's almost as if they're about to rename their franchise to Future Fantasy soon.

There's a lot of reminiscence concerning variations on known XIII themes, as well as a pretty pack of new awesome melodies. Masashi Hamauzu, the sole composer for XIII-2, is no nobody, after all: He was already onboard for the predecessor as well as on the superb Final Fantasy X soundtrack, so that guy can deliver if he wishes to, and that he does on this score.

If I wanted to pick out a handful of songs, I would have to pick too many to show you that this is just another entry in the league of extraordinary RPG soundtracks. Just do yourself a favor and skip over the new "Crazy Chocobo" theme, you don't want to ever listen to this. But if you liked the predecessor's score, there's no way around this one for you, so I'll leave you with only a few little excerpts from the four-disc set, and the lovely E3 trailer:

Masashi Hamauzu – "Congratulatory Fanfare" (FFXIII-2 OST)

Masashi Hamauzu – "Eclipse -Aggressive Mix-" (FFXIII-2 OST)

Masashi Hamauzu – "Plains of Eternity" (FFXIII-2 OST)

Final Fantasy XIII-2 – Official E3 Trailer

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